A Chicago judge appointed a special prosecutor on Friday morning to lead the investigation into the handling of the Jussie Smollett case.
Cook County Judge Michael Toomin appointed former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb to the position to investigate the way the case was handled — specifically, why the 16 criminal charges against Smollett were dropped and to potentially reinstate the charges or even add additional charges against Smollett.
“Webb gained prominence for his lead role during the Operation Greylord investigations into judicial corruption in Cook County,” Fox 32 reported. “He served as special counsel in the Iran-Contra affair and was previously appointed by Judge Toomin in the death of David Koschman.”
Webb told reporters on Friday: “I don’t know where this case is going. The facts will take me where they take me.”
Toomin ruled that a special prosecutor was needed in the case because “Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx had no authority to hand [the case] off to her top deputy after announcing she recused herself,” CBS News Chicago reported.
“Foxx had been in contact with a Smollett relative and was approached by former first lady Michelle Obama’s one-time chief of staff on behalf of Smollett’s family,” Fox 6 reported. “Foxx also publicly wondered if her being black has anything to do with the criticism she has received.”
Smollett told police on January 29, that he was walking home late at night when two masked men attacked him while hurling racist and homophobic slurs at him. Smollett further alleged that one of the attackers told him that he was in “MAGA country.”
Weeks later, authorities claimed that Smollett paid two black friends $3,500 to help him stage the attack on himself because he was not satisfied with earning $65,000-$125,000 per episode of a TV show on which he starred.
In June, after Toomin ruled that a special prosecutor would be appointed in the case, the Chicago Police Department doubled down on its claim that Smollett “fabricated” the “incident.”
Anthony Guglielmi, chief communications officer for the Chicago Police Department, tweeted at the time: “We stand firmly behind the work of detectives in investigating the fabricated incident reported by Jussie Smollett & #ChicagoPolice will fully cooperate with the court appointed special prosecutor.”